Child custody and relocation laws in Florida – Part II

The responses in an object petition to relocation must be substantiated and based on facts. It should contain verified evidences supporting the grounds for seeking an injunction of the proposed move. It should also include a declaration stating the degree of involvement the non-custodial parent presently has in parenting or in the life of the child.

The court may give an interim order allowing the relocation of the child if it finds the relocation petition was properly filed and is in conformity with the laid down procedure and there is merit in the evidence presented at the preliminary trial. Conversely, the court may allow an interim order against the relocation of a child if it finds the relocation has been executed ignoring the compliances or consent of the other parent or approval of the appropriate court.

In relocation trial, each parent will get a chance to present their fact and prove. The parent wanting to move bears the burden of proving that there is a legitimate reason for relocation and the move is in the child’s best interest. Once that is done, the burden shifts, and the non-relocating parent must show that the proposed relocation will not serve the best interests of the child.

While deciding an order in favor or against a petition for relocation, the court will not presume whether the move will affect the current visitation schedule and custody arrangement. Rather, in reaching its decision, the court shall weigh each parent’s relationship with the child, needs of the child and impact of the relocation on child’s well-being, feasibility of fostering an enduring relationship between the child and the non-relocating parent, both parties view in favor or against relocation, each parent’s financial stability, history of domestic violence, if any and other factors that may affect the best interest of the child. Also given that the child’s age and maturity, their choice regarding relocation may influence the verdict in some cases.

There may be a lawful reason behind your plan to relocate with your child, but your liberty to move can be held back in the event there is a child custody order in force and your partner is objecting to your move. However, if you are planning for it and not sure how it will affect your current custody arrangement, you may seek the help of a legal professional who may guide you on child custody relocation laws and court proceeding.